Seán Ó Dúrois

Dodekathlos

Is fuath liom obair an tí a dhéanamh.
Casann feadán fada an fholúsghlantóra
Thart ar mo chosa mar a bheadh nathair ann.
Tá téada gairide ar crochadh ón tsíleáil,
Snáitheanna gearrtha na mbeathaí eile
Nó an áit a mbíodh claíomh cinniúnach ann.

Agus mé ag obair,
Amharcaim ar lámha an chloig
Ag brú ualach na nóiméad suas
A fhad le mullach a dó dhéag
Agus titeann siad arís ansin
Anuas go fíoríochtar a sé.

Amhail Stábla Augeus
Bíonn arm dofheicthe d’fhíneoga deannaigh
I mbun oibre d’oíche agus de lá.
Fásann an deannach ar ais.
Is taipéis é an t-eagar
A scaoileann é féin.

Déanaim iarnáil ar léinte nimhe.
Féachaim leis an teach a choinneáil néata,
Ach is beag rud lonrach luachmhar
Nach luíonn dusta na mortlaíochta air.
Bíonn ábhar éigin imní i gcónaí ann:
Teimheal, seol dubh, oracal débhríoch.

Dodekathlos

I hate doing housework
The long tube of the vacuum cleaner
Winds around my leg like a snake.
There are short filaments hanging from the ceiling,
The cut threads of other lives
Or the place where a sword of destiny hung.

As I work
I watch the hands of the clock
Pushing their burden of minutes up
Up to the summit of twelve
And then they fall down again
Down to the low point of six.

Like the Stable of Augeus
An invisible army of dust mites
Are labouring by day and by night.
The dust grows back.
Order is a tapestry
Which unravels itself.

I iron poisoned shirts.
I try to keep the house neat
But there are few things bright and shiny
On which the dust of mortality does not settle.
There is always some reason to worry:
A stain, a black sail, an ambiguous oracle.

(Translated by the poet.)

Seán Ó Dúrois (John Dorrins) was born in England, and has lived for many years in Belfast. He has won a number of Oireachtas na Gaeilge awards, including the main award for prose in 2001, several awards for children’s writing and the Coiste Gairmoideachais na Mumhan Prize for an anthology of poetry in 2009. He was the overall winner of Duais Cholmcille in 2012 for ‘Dodekathlos.’

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